Showers on way but it’s hit and miss

THE heatwave might be over, but the region is still watching the weather — this time for the wet stuff.

Rainfall this month is well below average with just 1.6 millimetres in Albury-Wodonga so far.

That’s barely a drop in the average January bucket of 50.3 millimetres or the 27.8 millimetres that we had at this time last year.

And there’s little chance of making up the difference in the next 10 days — showers are forecast for Friday before clearing to sunny skies again in time for Australia Day on Sunday.

A Bureau of Meteorology spokesman yesterday said Friday’s showers could provide falls of about 10 millimetres, but the rain would be “very hit and miss”.

“So far, the January conditions have been very dry to go along with the hot weather we’ve had,” he said.

“And that looks like it will be extending into February and March.”

Among those who would prefer dry conditions — in the short term, at least — are crop farmers like Walla’s Garry Mickan.

Mr Mickan, who grows wheat, canola and oats, said little rain would suit him for the next few weeks, so weeds couldn’t grow and suck up his soil’s nutrients.

But with that said, a little rain would help him grow lucerne for stock feed.

Mr Mickan’s big concern during last week’s heatwave was the fire threat to his property.

After a blaze ripped through more than 120 hectares of his land during a 2009 heatwave, killing about 80 sheep, extreme weather puts him on edge.

“You always keep an eye on the sky for smoke,” he said.

“The flames were as high as the gum trees — it was horrific.

“I won’t forget that.”

Another concern with the searing heat was for his 150 cattle and 3500 sheep.

“The biggest thing with sheep and cattle is you’ve got to make sure they’ve got shade and water,” Mr Mickan said.

“We were checking them twice a day because of the heat.”